Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The History of Printing with Nigel Roche

For today’s outing, we returned to Fleet Street for a day of enlightenment and history. In the morning, Nigel Roche of St. Bride’s Institute informed our class of the entire history of the printing from the invention of paper to its current status. Clearly informed on the subject of journalism, Nigel proved a source of pure amazement. 
Most important to journalism’s past are the Chinese. Although the Egyptians created papyrus for use as paper, the Chinese were the first to make a pulp out of wood chips around 105 AD that would be moistened and flattened into a sheet of paper. This new advancement slowly made its way to Europe and finally arrived in 1151 AD.  The Chinese also had printing around 1500 years ago, utilizing an early design where they would write out the entire page on paper and then transfer the ink to a block of wood.  The next step would be to chisel away at the wood without the imprint of the text so that the text would be raised. 
Johannes Gutenberg then created a new way of printing (most likely influenced by the Chinese) that involved a moveable type. His first task was to print the Bible, which took three to six presses at various times with two people working each press and.  The project eventually bankrupted Gutenberg in the end. 
            William Caxton brought printing to London in the 1470s, after studying the craft in Belgium. Around 1500, a man known as Wynkyn de Worde popularized the printing press on Fleet Street after having worked under Caxton as his assistant.
            Moving to more modern times, the 1900s was a time that still lacked superior advancement.  Soon images were sent via telegraph (telephotos) and formats of different types of print media began to become diversified unlike the old ways to making them all look the same.
            The talk was very informative and made our class feel much more knowledgeable of the history of journalism.
For more information on the St. Bride Foundation, their website is http://stbridefoundation.org/index.html.
                                                                     -- By John Barr

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